The Hill of Crosses
Šiauliai County, Lithuania
Photos by Kent St. John
Spirituality seeps deep into the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania and it has been a pilgrimage site for many years. On a windy day, I spent hours just wandering around the hundreds of thousands of crosses, written messages and rosaries left by those making the pilgrimage.
During the time when Lithuania was known as the Lithuania Soviet Socialist Republic of the USSR, the Hill of Crosses was bulldozed completely in 1961, 1973, and 1975. To further dampen the spirit of Lithuanian nationalism, waste and sewage were dumped all over the area.
Pope John Paul II visited September of 1993, declaring it was a place of “hope, peace, love and sacrifice,” and since then thousands of visitors have come to wonder, as I did.
No matter what your faith, your soul will surely be moved.
Kent St. John was GoNOMAD’s Senior Travel Editor since the website was founded in 2000. During that time he circled the globe many times, visiting more than 80 countries. Sadly, he passed away on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. He had an appreciation of subtleties, always finding a way to capture the nuances and essences of a destination, whether he was whale-watching in Nova Scotia, riding the rails in Australia, bungee jumping in China or worshipping the sun on a beach in Brazil.